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Comment Screaming (Score 1) 320

I was in HS and stayed home that day ("sick") to specifically watch the launch. I remember when it blew apart and knew instantly that is was over. The announcer on TV kept going on and on and on about how there might be a problem, this doesn't seem normal, they're checking the status, etc. I was screaming at the announcer to shut-up, understand, and realize a bunch of people just died. He didn't hear me.

Comment Re:If AdBlocking is freedom-hating... (Score 1) 539

I've tried to find an article about this recently, but haven't been able to find the article that I read. But it turns out Google actually has your data collection lie to Google on a regular occasion. They get enough data that the lies shift out in the statistics, and in addition, no one at Google can actually trust specific data that you've sent Google...

Comment Re:Amazon has no idea what security is (Score 1) 131

So, I looked up the SMTP RFC, and yeah, the "local-part" (as it is determined) is to be treated as opaque by everyone BUT the domain in the address. Meaning that everyone must treat the addresses differently regardless of how GMail or anyone else interprets the semantics...

AND THEN, it turns out that while things are required to be case-insensitive, things are ALSO required to be case-sensitive. Basically, no one should ever assume that the local-part of the email address can be treated as caseless.

So, there you go, if Amazon doesn't let you sign up as both and, then they're totally out of spec...

But to the deeper part, why would Amazon not disable an account when someone with a local-part semantic collision calls in to object to getting the emails? "These two addresses are treated as semantically identical by my email provider, please figure out how to fix the other person's account," doesn't seem like a horribly unreasonable request... I'm sure they'd do it for coming from

Bitching about the RFCs and complaining that GMail is the problem is entirely misreading the RFC, and misreading reality in fact...

Comment Re: Penny (Score 1, Insightful) 702

Or, you know, interpret the second amendment as written and require gun owners to be part of a well regulated militia. Which would be far more restrictive than any of the restrictions currently proposed by even the more liberal folks. But just go ahead and keep believing it says something it clearly doesn't say. It's your God given right to be delusional as well.

Comment That's Ridiculous (Score 5, Interesting) 108

You can't just take an amazing piece of expensive kit like that and essentially throw it away! Oh wait - that's what we've been doing with the first stage of every launch forever until just now. Carry on then.

More seriously, congratulations, SpaceX, for taking such a big step forward for humankind.

Comment Re:Only if you Exclude Technological Limits (Score 1) 288

No, it wasn't just simpler. The heliocentric model explained the orbits more precisely. Check out Kepler.

If we were to go by the idea that elegant explanations with no predictive power were science, then I propose a "theory" which by gravity is conveyed by magic invisible elastic bands that are attached to everything in the universe. And I'll write equations and come up with rules that will make the behavior identical to what we see observed. If you find a problem, I'll just update my equations accordingly. We could do that back-and-forth forever and I can hold on to my "theory" forever.

No, to find out if my theory has any merit, we need to show some way in which looking at the world through my theory provides a better understanding, a more precise model, and not just an appealing idea. Elegant ideas can provide useful inspiration for scientific exploration, but if they don't make any testable predictions they are just dreams, no more true or false than fairies. The foundation of science, as opposed to every other system of knowledge is it's brutal testing of ideas against reality.

String theory, as far as I've read, provides no insight into the behavior of anything, and thus we simply can't tell if it's real or not. It might as well be fairies.

Comment Re:What about me? (Score 5, Informative) 268

So, how about people who like other movies and don't like getting spoilers? Or is this a Star Wars Master Race thing where everyone else are second class citizens that doesn't deserve protection?

Encountering new narratives is one of narrative's fundamental pleasures. Novelty is so important to narratives that in many cases entire classes of aesthetic effects and domains of hermeneutic structures depend on an audience's relative ignorance about what happens next.

So, it's not just courtesy to label narrative "secrets" spoilers if they are unexpected; doing so protects the value of narratives for future audiences, and the act of people coming to their own understandings about a narrative is worth protecting because, in many ways, our very identities are constructed from the kinds of narratives we encounter and the lessons we learn as we experience (and later reflect on) the things we experience as we discover a narrative that is new to us.

I take a pragmatic approach. If I'm on the web and writing about a recently-produced (within a year) narrative, I label my reveals with clear ***SPOILER ALERT***s. On the other opposite hand, if I'm writing for (say) a literary journal about Thomas Pynchon's _The Crying of Lot 49_, I don't bother with them because the target audience understands they are expected to have already read the narrative I'm discussing.

But most discussions which contain narrative "secrets" fall somewhere in the middle, like a 400-year old story called _Romeo and Juliet_ which is one of the cornerstones of Modern aesthetic culture. Or maybe you're discussing a 2500-year old story about a king searching for the cause of the plague across his kingdom called _Oedipus Rex_ (well, the spoiler comes up front in that play, but you get the idea). My habit is to label those middle-ground reveals as spoilers, too, something I think everyone should do to protect the value of those narratives for future generations.

In other words, be a good human being and care for those who come after you by labelling your spoilers and being sensitive to the audience who will encounter what you write perhaps in an entirely different context.

I applaud Reddit's decision to block (banning may be a little extreme) users who want to destroy the aesthetic and epistemological value of a long-awaited narrative. I wish Slashdot and all my other Internet favorites would do something similar not only for Abrams' _The Force Awakens_ but for ALL narratives.

For my part, I knowingly took a risk even coming here to post, given that Slashdot is (rightly) renown for allowing all speech to flourish (to various degrees subject to the moderation system). But that uncritical acceptance of all speech also means that I will not come back to this thread until AFTER I've seen Abrams' contribution to the Star Wars franchise.

See you at the movies!

Comment Re:Private sector will always do it better. (Score 4, Informative) 352

Socialize? I guess we should get rid of roads, police, military then... because by your definition, anything that the public requests of their government, and then pays for... is "socialist".

We need to be stopping the relentless growth of big corporations and monopolies, not giving them more power & money to control politics.

That's the whole point. Publicly funded "roads, police, military" are socialist and, even so, are perceived by many upstanding Americans to be good things.

In other words, using "socialism" and "socialist" as labels to demonize something or someone is mere rhetoric. A socialist approach to a problem should be evaluated on its merits against and in combination with other approaches.

The use of the word "socialism" as a label often stops thoughtful deliberation, and those who use such labels usually have something to lose if their listeners really think about the issues at hand. Better to stop further thinking by riling their emotions.

Comment Re:first (Score 5, Insightful) 508

The GP is definitely an example of a shibboleth.

Given the summary, however, it appears that Charllie Stross doesn't know how to use the word "shibboleth" correctly.

In particular, a shibboleth is simply an expression or signal used by someone that helps other members of the in group recognize the signaler's (shibboleth user) membership in that in group. It's not used as a pejorative.

While certainly people (in or out) can react negatively to a shibboleth (like judging people who, for example, "high five" each other), shibboleths are not negative in and of themselves. Designating improbable science fictional mechanisms "shibboleths" really doesn't make sense.

At all.

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